Most Australians don’t know they are being constantly spied on by their governments and this must stop, say pro-freedom party the Liberal Democrats.
Now the government wants to roll out digital ID for everyone, but this is a privacy disaster waiting to happen.
Liberal Democrats NSW President, Dean McCrae, says many don’t realise every day activities such as taking public transport, reading emails, shopping and browsing the internet are tracked by governments and corporations.
“Over several years, governments have forced telecommunication companies to retain data on their customers’ internet records, known as metadata, and hand them over to authorities,” Dean says.
“Everyone’s personal information, not just suspected criminals, is shared internationally without consent. It’s Big Brother on steroids.
“Centralising everyone’s private details in one place with a digital ID system just makes personal information more vulnerable to being stolen.
“We want an end to mass surveillance, have no digital identity laws and to stop collection of metadata that shows how individuals browse the internet,” Dean says.
The laws, which were rushed as anti-terrorism measures, are indiscriminate and open to abuse, Dean argues.
“Mass surveillance laws avoid proper legal process of obtaining warrants through courts to intercept phone conversations and emails.
“Vast amounts of taxpayer funds are used to support the bureaucratic interference into private activities.
“Surveillance laws should become the responsibility of states and territories, and target specific communications relevant to criminal investigations,” Dean says.
Governments rapidly increased mass surveillance during the COVID-19 pandemic and Dean says this needs to stop.
“Smartphones allowed public health officials to access private medical information, with geolocation and contact-tracing applications,” Dean says.
“The pandemic obscured government investments in surveillance technologies, such as facial recognition biometric data.
“These can be linked with emails, text messages and phone calls to pry on almost every aspect of private life.”
For more information about the Liberal Democrats stand on mass surveillance and people’s right to privacy, read our policy on freedom from surveillance.
View media contact details here.